Blog Stories How to buy a house that isn’t for sale yet

How to buy a house that isn’t for sale yet

By Gavin Shettler, March 28, 2018

I had just started working with Tim and Jessie. We were getting their house ready for sale when they saw a for-sale sign in front of a house that was being renovated. It was exactly the kind of house they hoped to buy. I called the listing agent who turned out to be the renovator as well. He was happy to show the house, though it wouldn’t be ready for another 2 weeks. Our visit was designed as exploratory—just looking at an example of the kind of house they were looking for. We met over at the house. It was a mid-century, single level, 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom, with an amazing layout, perfect for entertaining. It really was just right for for Tim and Jessie!

After we left the house, I asked Tim and Jessie if they really liked it because I had a pretty good idea of how they could get it. Even though it would be a contingency offer and their own house wasn’t even on the market yet. They were like “what?” They didn’t think such a thing would be possible and that that house would not be an actual option.

Spoiler alert. It worked out. They got the house. But it wasn’t easy. First off, the listing agent said the house was going to be ready in 2 weeks. When I looked around, my estimate of how far along they were said they would be lucky if they were ready in 4 weeks. That was perfect timing to get Tim and Jessie’s house on the market and into contract. The seller was at least open to looking at an offer pre-market. We wrote it up—aggressive price based on the starting sale price he gave us, contingent on sale of Tim and Jessie’s house. I included all the marketing material about their house.

The seller reviewed our offer. The contingency didn’t scare him and he saw, through the marketing material, that my clients’ house was going to sell fast. But the seller had put a lot of work into the mid-century and wanted to wait and go on the open market. We told the seller that our offer still stood and that we would be back when he went to market with the mid-century.

2 weeks later and we were ready to list Tim and Jessie’s house on the market when I get a call from the seller of the mid-century. Sure enough, renovating the house was taking much longer than what they anticipated. If my client’s would raise their sales price a bit, they would go with our offer. Tim and Jessie couldn’t believe it. We listed their house and were in contract within 6 days. It turned out the mid-century took a lot longer to finish–getting done another 30 days later. Right before closing. Hey! We got it done and Jessie and Tim have their dream house. Thank you universe.

Gavin Shettler

Earth Advantage Principal Broker

I am a residential real estate broker at Living Room Realty serving Portland, Oregon, and the surrounding area. My core beliefs are honesty and integrity, supported by good communication. My role as your agent includes facilitator, negotiator, advocate, advisor, and expert in the Portland Metro housing market. I work with buyers and sellers at all stages of their home owning experience. I am a certified Earth Advantage Broker and Energy Trust Ally. I am a 2015 Five Star Real Estate professional award recipient. I have lived in Portland for over 20 years and love this city. My background is in Arts administration where I first owned and managed a commercial art gallery, then founded and ran a non-profit visual arts center, and last, managed and directed a large housing development of live/work spaces for artists. I live in the Montavilla neighborhood in NE Portland with my wife, Andrea, our daughter Beatrise, our son Augustus, our three cats, Yogi, Charlotte, and Ferocia, and also one small dog named Lucy. Living Room Realty is a leading real estate company that believes in community and connections. We have 120+ agents between four offices in inner Portland, one office in Vancouver, WA, and one office in Manzanita that serves the North coast of Oregon. We provide a wide range of services beyond residential real estate including rental management, tenant placement, and commercial real estate. Living Room is one of the only real estate companies with B-Corporation status in the nation. The company’s values include integrity, relevance and diversity. Our company was awarded the 2014 Business in Ethics Award for all small businesses in the state of Oregon. Gavin Shettler Principal Broker 503-481-7450 Cell Assistant: Rose Romanick
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